The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Groped

    2
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Robbed

    5
  • Burns

    4
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Giardia

    8
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Malaria

    5
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Falls

    12
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9